To me you have a need for two rifles. For the average shooter most rifles will shoot better than the shooter will. I hate to see new hunters buy a junk new low $ rifle when you can find better quality in the used market. As far as an AR model, the trend today is more and more shooters are going that route and for some hefty money too. I bought a H&K ar style 22 just to plink with because of the cost of ammo. I would not rule out a single, pump, lever, or bolt gun for deer hunting, all will work for 90% of your hunting needs. 300 sav,308, 270, 280, 30-06, all are great. Let us know what you purchased.